This Saturday: San Diego All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair 9/25/2021!

We’ve gone to this event in the past, and it’s always a fun time with great resources.

FREE community event with activities, games, crafts, raffles, shopping, and resource booths for families of all abilities.

When: September 25, 2021 10:00AM-1:00PM

Where: Park de la Cruz Recreation Center 3901 Landis Street San Diego, CA 92105

Activity Booths • Giveaways • Games • Family Resources • Networking • Shopping & more

Children of all abilities can enjoy activity stations:

  • Play our adaptive Life-Size Candyland Game.
  • Wash a kid car and drive it through the FOAMO Car Wash and sensory station.
  • Make a ghost trap and receive a package of ectoplasm slime.
  • Spin the prize wheel for a prize* from the toy barrel. Everyone is a winner!
  • Stop by the ShopAble Marketplace to peruse and purchase fabulous products
  • and more!

Resource and service providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and offer helpful information.

All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public! To learn more or register, click here

Daily Schedules for Kids (with tips for ADHD Family Members)

Recently, I posted our daily schedule for school days on Instagram.

Because the littler kiddo is still learning to read, I do a combination of words and pictures. I find that it also helps as sometimes when kids become disregulated, reading can be a little too much for our brains.

The Afternoon/Night section doesn’t have times because while bedtime is at a fixed time, it is important to grant the kids some freedom in the afternoons to relax and decompress from school. After being “on” all day at school, I like to give them 30 minutes to an hour after school to have a snack and relax without any kind of demands put on them.

There are of course times when that is not possible, for example when we have appointments immediately after school. Having a schedule for them to see really helps them organize and be aware.

Having two neurodivergent kiddos, it’s important to have visual reminders of schedules, family rules, appointments, etc. around the house. Each kid has a calender in room that is updated monthly with upcoming appointments, days off school and holidays. Updating those each month is something I do the first day of each month. I use stickers in addition to writing to help remind the kids of upcoming events on the calenders.

With Neurodivergency sometimes comes what we call “losing time”. The concept of time can be hard for kids to grasp, regardless of their neurodivergency. Another way that we help keep the kids on schedule is to use the old theater trick where we give them a one hour “call”, a 30 minute call, a five minute call, and then a time to go call. Grown ups call out, “One hour until X”, and the kids answer back, “Thank you one hour!” Making them repeat the amount of time they have left until we leave or transition activities puts it in their mind that whatever they are doing/playing/watching will come to an end.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about the tips and tricks you use to keep your family on schedule!

 

 

 

San Diego All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair 9/25/2021

We’ve gone to this event in the past, and it’s always a fun time with great resources.

FREE community event with activities, games, crafts, raffles, shopping, and resource booths for families of all abilities.

When: September 25, 2021 10:00AM-1:00PM

Where: Park de la Cruz Recreation Center 3901 Landis Street San Diego, CA 92105

Activity Booths • Giveaways • Games • Family Resources • Networking • Shopping & more

Children of all abilities can enjoy activity stations including Super Mario Wheelchair Course, Life-Size Candyland Game, Ernie’s Rubber Duckies Literacy Bathtub, Ghostbusters Ghost Trap Craft, and more!

Resource and service providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and offer helpful information.

All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public! To learn more or register, click here

What to do When You Have a Newly Diagnosed Child on The Autism Spectrum?

I’m in a few Facebook groups for parents of children that are on the Autism spectrum or are otherwise neurodivergent.

One of the things about being a parent of a neurodivergent child is that after you are informed of your kids’ diagnosis is there is nothing. It’s like, “Here is the diagnosis. Thanks for your co-pay… NEXT!!”

Typically, doctors and other clinicians don’t offer you resources, support, or give you any information. Sometimes you have to fight to get a copy of the diagnostic report.

In my Facebook groups, parents of newly diagnosed children come and ask, “What now?” or “How do I get my kid help and services?” After typing the same response literally hundreds of times in the past 5 years trying to help parents and guardians (because I had no help and had to google and claw and find help for my child and family), here are a few resources that have helped my family:

If you suspect your child may be neurodivergent, contact their pediatrician. Ask for an assessment. You may receive a referral to a psychologist. The intake process is lengthy. There are typically 2-3 appointments, plus lots of paperwork to complete. If you receive any pushback, keep pressing forward. If your doctor says no, call your insurance provider directly and ask for help. If you live in San Diego County, you can also contact the San Diego Regional Center directly for help getting an assessment.

Once you receive a diagnosis, request a copy of the paperwork for your files. You will need a copy of the diagnosis paperwork to access services.

Important side notes: Start a file/binder (I use this one) for all of your paperwork. There will be a lot of it. I also have heavy-duty page protectors and folders in the three-ring binder. I keep his IEP (Individual Education Plan), IHSS paperwork, Regional Center paperwork, a list of his doctors (including their phone numbers and addresses), and copies of the medication inserts/directions that come with the prescriptions.

If you are in San Diego County, contact the San Diego Regional Center. Any resident of San Diego or Imperial County believed to have a developmental disability may receive intake services through the San Diego Regional Center. The Regional Center can help you access services such as respite care, Medi-cal Waiver, and access to community services. For most families, Regional Center services are free or very inexpensive. The intake paperwork will go over income requirements for payment for being a Regional Center Client. Our kiddo has been a Regional Center client for 5 years, and they have been a great resource.

Once you get in touch with the Regional Center and your child becomes a client, you want to get your child on Medi-cal. This will allow them to receive the most services and can help your family access IHSS (In Home Support Services- Someone to help provide care for your child, as their special needs may mean that they require extra care or support above and beyond what a neurotypical child their age may require).

If your family makes too much money annually to qualify your child through Medi-Cal, ask for a Medi-cal Development Disability Waiver. Having this waiver for your child is really important, as it will open up so many services and programs.

Some neurodivergent children require services to help better their quality of life. Some of these services include:

  • OT (Occupational Therapy)
  • Speech Therapy
  • Behavioral or Mental Health Therapy
  • Feeding Therapies

The Regional Center Case Worker assigned to your child can help you navigate what services they can help with, and provide resources.

Note about Medi-cal: Just because your kid has it, doesn’t mean that you have to use it as their primary health insurance. For our family, we use Medi-cal to cover the gaps that we’ve found in our primary insurance. Covering co-pays for medication that relates to his diagnosis, and in the past, a few other therapies that we no longer utilize.

There are a lot of support groups online to help parents navigate life with Neurodivergent kiddos. It’s worth a Facebook or Reddit search, using your city, state, or geographic area.

There are also a lot of non-profits that are all about helping Neurodivergent people. I love NFAR (the National Federation for Autism Research), they are local to San Diego, and they have programs for parents, kids, and teens, and adults.

The Autism Tree Project Foundation is another NPO I love. They have all sorts of great playgroups, events, and resources for families of Neurodivergent people.

MOST IMPORTANT: Regardless of your child’s diagnosis, they are still your kid. Nothing changes your love for them and their love for you. If you are uncomfortable or if your child is uncomfortable with any therapies that they take part in, listen to your gut, and listen to your kid. There are some therapies that are commonly accepted that older Autists (people on the autism spectrum) recount as having negative mental or physical impacts on them.

Please seek out support- There are a lot of people who have gone through what you are going through. Lots of parents, friends, allies who can share their resources, and offer you a shoulder to cry on when you are frustrated, and hugs when you need them. I count myself among those supporters. When you need help or support, don’t hesitate to email me or DM/PM me on any of my socials. 

4/2/2021: Special Guest Speaker World Autism Awareness Day

NFAR (The National Federation for Autism Research) is hosting a Zoom lunch and learn on April 2, 2021, which is World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day.

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that my oldest (now 10) was diagnosed with ASD at age 5. Learning more about how the mind of someone on the spectrum is a lifelong learning experience. I always look forward to events like this. It is interesting to learn the science and research behind ASD.

The speaker is the leading scientific researcher, Dr. Eric Courchesne.

Friday April 2nd 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm PST
TOPIC: The When, What, and How of ASD Development with Q&A

GUEST SPEAKER: Dr. Eric Courchesne, Professor of Neurosciences in the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego and Co-Director of the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence.

Dr. Eric Courchesne introduced the new concept of ASD Living Biology, a new approach for discovering prenatal brain developmental origins and explanations of ASD in the individual child. His work shows ASD begins in the 1st and 2nd trimesters and his studies have identified genomic, molecular, cellular, and neural differences that lead to early language and social symptoms in autism and predict clinical outcome. His work is internationally recognized.

Dr. Courchesne’s studies integrate behavioral, brain imaging, developmental, cellular, genetic and genomic findings that lead to a better understanding of the prenatal origins of autism. His team has also identified early diagnostic and outcome biomarkers. From this work his team aims to identify treatments specific to biological subtypes. Dr. Courchesne has published over 200 articles in major journals such as JAMA, TINS, Neuron, Molecular Psychiatry, Nature Neuroscience, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

To sign up for this free online event, click here.

 

I am not affiliated with Dr. Courchesne or NFAR. I am simply sharing this information.

San Diego, CA Free Event! All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair

The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego is hosting its 3rd annual All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair.

This Interactive Drive-Thru event is FREE for families this fall!

On Sunday, October 11 from 1 to 4 pm at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 6845 University Avenue, San Diego, 92115 (enter off Aragon Dr.), families from around the county are invited to drive through our interactive event and gather information from resource providers for families with all abilities.

Sign up for your family’s FREE tickets on Eventbrite now! 

All attendees are encouraged to stop and participate as a family pod at themed activity stations. All families who drive through the “course” will be entered into our raffle giveaway to win fun prizes.

Children of all abilities can enjoy activity stations including a Star Wars Light Saber Craft, Ollivanders Wand Shop, a free book at the Literacy Duck Pond, and more!

All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public.

Please note! All COVID-19 guidelines will be strictly enforced, including requiring facemasks for everyone at this event (booth vendors and attendees in cars) and social distancing.

8/7/19: All-Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

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I am very excited about this event! I received an email all about it this afternoon.
The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine are hosting the 2nd annual

All-Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!On Wednesday, August 7 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Miramar Hourglass Recreation Center, 10440 Black Mountain Road, SD, 92126, families from around the county are invited to celebrate the last days of summer and gather information from resource providers for families with all abilities. Your family is invited to this FREE summer event!

Activity Booths • Giveaways • Performances • Games • Family Resources • Networking & more!

Children of all abilities will enjoy activity stations including Woody’s Roundup Corral, Super Hero City, Wheelchair Awareness Course, Literacy Duck Pond, V.T. Raceway, Star Wars Space Station and more!

Plus, enjoy a variety of entertaining performances at the All Abilities Stage.

Over 40 resource services and providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and provide information.

All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public.

Sign up for your family’s FREE tickets on eventbrite now!

Parents: Give Yourself A Break

DSC06725.JPGA friend posted this article from Motherly this morning about how self-care isn’t enough and parents (especially moms) are burnt out.

I can completely understand. As the mom of a kid with ASD and ADHD, and well as a neurotypical firecracker of a 4-year-old, I feel like I am always going going going. And really, I feel like it’s not enough.

This summer I’ve said NO a lot. No to racing off to an activity each morning, no to lunches out, no to 5 playdates a week, the craft dates, all-day zoo adventures, and sojourns to the beach. Oh, and this would have been just 1 week of summer activities in the past. Imagine that for 8 weeks. Are you tired now?

This is something I want everyone who reads this to take the heart: NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE. 

Plus, I still need to do household chores, cook, laundry and make sure the big kid gets to therapy twice a week, I need to exercise at least 4 times a week.

In saying no to all of these activities, the kids are able to relax, which means they are in a better mood, which mommy is in a better mood. We are still doing stuff, but it’s more things that the kids can do at home or in a small group of friends.  We’ve been swimming at our community pool each day in the late afternoon, playing at the local park. We’re going to the YMCA a few times a week in the afternoon so the kids can play while I exercise. Stuff that is low stress.

Why is parenting harder? Why are we burned out? This article gives us some ideas. The increase in activities for kids (If you want to go to an Ivy League school Little Timmy, you need to start your extra-curricular activities at birth!), social media expectations (It’s like Keeping up with the Joneses on crack), the constant barrage of information and data being thrown at us (pics of our kids, nanny/daycare cams being sent to us, text messages, chat apps, always being connected to people and media). It’s overwhelming. It’s tiring. Being expected to be Instagram-ready or Insta -Perfect is frustrating and exhausting.

For special needs parents, it’s harder because, for the most part, our kids aren’t  “like everyone else”, so frequently we are ostracized from activities. It’s the truth, and it sucks. and it hurts. To shield my kids from this hurt and keep myself sane, we’ve stepped back from activities this summer.

I’m not going to give you a list of self-care activities that will help you de-stress. You already know what works for you, your family, your budget.  This is what I do.

What I want you to know, moms and dads that read this post:

You are not alone. There are other parents and caregivers out there that are feeling the same way you do. You don’t have to keep up with everything you see online. You are doing the best you can for your family. YOU ARE ENOUGH!

I found this shirt on Amazon and I had to share it. 

6/22/19 Mass Creativity Day at The New Children’s Museum!

Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 10.27.50 PM.pngHave you heard about the awesome with the New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego?

Mass Creativity Day is held at the park across from the Museum on Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 9:30am-3pm. Bring the whole family and enjoy live music, food, hands-on art-making activities, free admission to the Museum and more! Snacks at the event are generously donated by KIND.

I am looking forward to taking the kids to play and explore!

Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 10.35.07 PM.pngThe New Children’s Museum is a great place for kids of all ages- And if your kiddo has accessibility issues such as autism or sensory issues), four times a year, the museum hosts an Accessibility Morning. RSVP is required to take advantage of this special morning (includes discounted admission for kids, and caregivers are free).  Learn more here.

Free Reading Event for All Kids at Central Library (San Diego, CA)

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On June 22 from 10am-1pm, the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family will be holding an All-Inclusive Read 3×3 Literacy Event: 3 Authors, 3 Hours, 3 Times the Fun at the San Diego Central Library.

San Diego Family Magazine is partnering with the San Diego Central Library @ Joan & Irwin Jacobs Common, Binford I CAN, Too! Center to promote literacy in kids from 0-10, put a free book in the hands of every child, teach empathy and compassion through stories and promote summer reading.

Every child that attends will receive a free book (while supplies last) donated by San Diego Family Magazine. We will have 3 authors (Salina Yoon, Sally J. Pla and Andrea Zimmerman) each read two of their books, followed by a craft for the kids.

The San Diego Central Library houses the Binford I CAN, Too! Center serving children with accessibility needs and their caregivers. The Binford I CAN, Too! Center offers access to technology, allowing patrons access to the following:

  • ZoomText: computer screen magnifier
  • JAWS: computer screen reader for the visually impaired, Read & Write Literacy: speech-to-text software, SARA Reader: converts text from printed to spoken
  • Optelec ClearView: 22” magnifier, High-definition keyboards, Adjustable height tables and Assistive Mouse/Ball Tracking.

In addition to the technology and equipment, the Center also provides periodic programming for and about children with special needs. These programs provide children with the opportunities to socialize, learn and have fun. Additional resources include large print and braille books, Sensory Integration Kits for children on the autism spectrum, and parent resource materials.

I’m excited to take the kids to this event and check out the Binford I CAN, Too! Center this summer.